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Archive for the ‘60+’ Category

Banana-fana Fo-senior … The 50+ Marketing Name Game

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

leslie nielsen - don't call me shirley* A new ecommerce site debates, do we create a category for 40+ products or for aging needs or for more complicated prescriptions?
* A senior living community wants to ban the word senior from brochures.
* A 55+ housing builder wants to strike the word retirement from its website.

Across industries, marketers wonder … is any word safe for 50+ marketing anymore?

(Walking) Sticks & (Rolling) Stones

While Creating Results has addressed the “language of aging” on this blog before, the issue is not going away. And rightly so.

Today’s 50+ers are different than those of the same age in the 1970s. The industries that serve them are different, most notably in senior living where there has been a huge shift from a culture where older equaled frail patient to one where older now equals vibrant community member.

Why were marketers surprised that today’s older adults began challenging the words used to depict (and at restrict) them? The Silent Generation (born 1925-1942) is the same one that led the fight for women’s rights, civil rights, and gay rights. They didn’t do that without kicking several words to the curb. Then there are the rarely-silent Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). As they clock more time on the planet, they’re calling a time-out on limiting words like cane or retirement, opting for positive-skewing walking stick and encore, instead.

As perceptions change, so does language. And as language changes, so can perceptions.

As Jane Sherwin wrote in an excellent piece for LeadingAge Magazine last month,

“It’s more than the changing population that is driving this new awareness of language, according to Karen Schoeneman … a consultant on culture change. She says that as early as the 1980s there was a growing interest in changing a culture that represented patients as objects through its institutionalized terminology.

‘You can’t just use words, you have to change your outlook as well,’ says Schoeneman. ‘You have to change your culture to more of a community, you have to wake up to how you are treating each other. It’s gradual, a journey. Change in culture and words are almost simultaneous.’”

This is why when senior living leader North Hill embarked on a multi-million dollar campus transformation several years ago, one of their first acts was a training and discussion series about words. They built up their culture before tearing down buildings.

You’ll find the LeadingAge piece and some excellent resources here: http://bit.ly/1mwDomu.

The Words We Love … and Loathe

Two new surveys may offer guidance for this 50+ marketing name game.

1) Ina Jaffe is the aging reporter for NPR. After taking on this beat, she quickly came up against the language issue. When someone put a headline of “Elderly” on a profile of a 71-year-old midwife, “Listeners were furious,” she said.“Maybe once upon a time, ‘elderly’ referred to a particular stage in life, but now people think … it means you’re ailing and you’re frail.”

This prompted NPR to do a survey of its own. “Older adult” emerged the dubious winner — it’s liked by 43% of respondents; nearly 1/3 liked “elder” and nearly 1/3 liked “senior”… but not if paired with the word “citizen.”

As Jaffe reported yesterday, “The category of dislikes had the most enthusiasm. There were about three and a half times more votes cast for terms that didn’t like than for terms that they liked. And I can sum up the overall response by saying that they disliked pretty much everything.”

It wasn’t the obviously offensive terms like “geezer.” Many aging industry-promoted phrases like “positive aging” are disliked as well.

You’ll find the NPR results at http://n.pr/1oFkwCa.

2) The fact that Ronni Bennett calls herself an “elderblogger” and frequently posts as “Cranky Old Lady” should give you a sense of her personality. In May she decided to get a sense of her readers’ preferences for aging language.

Like Jaffe, Bennett found that people are very definite about words they DON’T like, but can’t really say what they DO like. Note that some words showed up in both the yes and no columns:

Table - names to use for older adults. TImeGoesBy poll, May 2014

Bennett doesn’t pull punches, and she has little patience for those who do.

“The cutesy-poo names and descriptions like golden ager, third ager, oldster and Portland, Oregon’s transit designation of ‘honored citizen’ are embarrassingly patronizing. In American English, no other age group but old people are singled out for disrespect in this manner.”

You’ll find Bennett’s results here: http://bit.ly/1mGkFqc. (For more insights, be sure to read the comments while you’re there.)

Ageless Marketing vs. Age-Specific Markets

When we last blogged about aging language, Marilynn Larkin shared this comment:

“How about ‘people’? ‘Customers’? ‘Members’? The longer I work with companies that try to market to boomers, seniors, whatever–the more convinced I am that a demographic –age– is NOT a market. “

That post was almost exactly one year ago. I’d love to hear from readers — has your language changed in this past year? After these recent surveys, will it change in the next?

Or maybe I’m really asking, can 50+ marketing have it both ways: can we find ageless language that connects with consumers segmented by age?

Mature Marketing Links of the (two) Week – “Unexpected Stories,” New 65+ Data

Monday, July 7th, 2014

san-fermin-pamplona-running-bullsToday begins the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, in which small groups of bulls are let loose in the streets while white-clothed runners try to stay ahead of, on top of, or pretty much anywhere but under the bulls’ hooves.

It started out as a boring thing – a way to get the animals from the corral to the bullring. Then runners unexpectedly began joining the journey to the ring and now … The story of Pamplona and the running of the bulls has been memorialized by Hemingway and captures worldwide attention each year.

This past week, our top mature marketing content item was all about the unexpected. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs and fantastic source of marketing insights, told blog readers that the key to “Breaking Out of Boring” was to “Tell Unexpected Stories.”

It was by far the most re-tweeted, favorited and clicked item on Creating Results’ social networks these past weeks.

Many brands wish they could break out of boring, but they believe they don’t have the flash of major consumer products or they operate in highly-regulated industries. Ann says LinkedIn “has become the poster child for a staid brand evolving its brand by telling unexpected stories.”

How does LinkedIn do it? Here are her three take-aways:

1) Tap into broad, universal themes. Ann’s example was of a musician’s story that tapped into the idea of ambition. For senior living, there are many aspirational ideas that elders relate to — choose the ones that help them imagine a better quality of life in your community.

2) Put the customer at the story’s center. As Ann writes, “Paradoxically, your “story” is not about you—it’s about what you do for others.”

Personally, I see this as the no-bull clause (pun intended). It is especially important for marketing to baby boomers. They’re not the me-generation the media portrays them as, but they won’t buy unless they know what you’ll do for them. Sharing the customer’s story (and therefore yours) also is more authentic. Remember: boomers were the first generation to be mass-marketed to; they can smell a phony a mile away.

3) Have a kick-ass call to action. 

What makes a call to action kick-ass? Click here to read Ann’s post and find out.

 

A few more attention-getting / attention-worthy items: 

* A new report from the US Census Bureau reveals interesting trends among Americans age 65+, and NextAvenue summarizes some highlights: http://bit.ly/1j8kvXS

- For instance, while labor force participation by men over 65 years old has dropped “precipitously” since 1950, participation by women of the same age has increased.

- From 2000 to 2010, the 65+ population grew by 15.1 percent overall. Where will you find older adults? Try Florida, the state with the highest percentage of residents 65 and over (17.3 percent). West Virginia and Maine rank #2 and #3 for highest percentage of 65+ers. The states with the lowest: Alaska (7.7 percent), followed by Utah and Texas.

- Social Security remains a critical source of income for older adults, especially the poorest Americans, as the chart below illustrates.

social-security-americans-over-65.censusbureau

* From the blog “vaults”: 10 practical PR tips for developers of 55+ and senior living communities: http://bit.ly/1qbkykx

* A look at DC’s newest metro line, the “colossal” expectations for it, and how it could shape the future of the American suburb: http://bit.ly/1qDAlLe

RELATED: A scholar is quoted in the article as saying “That’s where the market wants to be: in these walkable, urban locations.” Creating Results’ Todd Harff took a look at a critical part of that market — older adults — in last year’s post What Do Baby Boomers Want In a Home?

* Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology): Old school marketing yells and sells. Content marketing says, “I might have a solution that can help you.”

 Could Creating Results have a solution to help you and your colleagues achieve your goals? Check out our content — new case studies! — for some ideas and inspiration, then give us a call at 888-205-8899.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Landing Page Tips & “Free” ROI

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Happy Monday!  It’s hard to believe that June is coming to a close, where did the time go?!  Let’s jump right into the mature marketing news that had people talking this past week.  Have something to share?  We’d love to see it in our comment section.

MOST CLICKED: As more and more mature consumers flock to online avenues for gathering information about your brand and moving themselves father down the purchase funnel, having a sound landing page strategy is critical. First and foremost, your landing page should serve as a vehicle for lead capture. Ed Kedzierski recently shared his tips for creating great landing page forms:

*Avoid lengthy fields: Keep it simple as long forms can be a huge turn off.  Rule of thumb: if you aren’t going to use the information don’t ask for it.

*Adjust the styling of your form: Make your form appear even shorter—less is more when it comes to driving completions.

*Don’t Submit: Try other wording on the button to capture information that more closely relates to the action and drives higher conversions.

*Eliminate Fear: We found in our Social, Silver Surfer research that privacy concerns run high, especially among boomers and beyond.  You’re capturing personal information, put people at ease by including your privacy policy and reconfirming a safe submission.

Read the full article here.

Related: Learn about Creating Results’ digital initiatives and discover how we can help you maximize your ROI.  Visit our website.

MOST SHARED:

Free ROI  In an age where everyone is looking to stand out, incentives are typically a go-to for quickly driving prospect interest and action. Marketing Profs recently shared an article regarding free offers and how you can measure effectiveness.

The reality is that free is never free for the marketer. There’s always an expense that has to be paid, even if it’s not paid by the customer. Moreover, that cost is often higher than marketer anticipates.

The article explored a variety of “free” incentives, including product and content, along with benefits to utilizing each.  At the end of the day, as marketers it is our job to evaluate potential incentives we want to include and ensure it is not only worth the cost but relevant to our brand.

Read the full post.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Internet-Depression Connections and Aging Realities

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Happy Monday! This week’s mature marketing articles of interest recap is double the pleasure, as we missed last week as our staff took time out to commemorate Memorial Day.

maya-angelouBut first, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the passing of Maya Angelou. So much has already been said to honor her memory and spirit, so we just simply say thank you. Thank you for your inspiration. You will be missed.

MOST CLICKED: As we age it’s not uncommon to experience feelings of loneliness or isolation, which can lead to depression. A recent study examined the role of internet usage and it’s impact on seniors battling depression, and found reductions of up to 30 percent by those who use the internet regularly.

“That’s a very strong effect,” said Shelia Cotten, a Michigan State University professor of telecommunication, information studies and media who led the project. “And it all has to do with older persons being able to communicate, to stay in contact with their social networks, and just not feel lonely.”

While the internet is not a cure for depression, it does foster engagement with family and friends who may not be readily accessible, leading to a positive impact on an individual’s emotional wellness (especially among those seniors who live alone).

Read the full story here.

MOST SHARED: “Americans over 50 have a completely irrational view of their own aging,” at least that’s the position of a recent MediaPost commentary. The post, referencing recent findings from the Pew Research Foundation, compared Boomer’s attitudes towards aging and for many what can be very a different reality.

The eternal optimism of the Boomer generation consistently trumps the reality that they experience everyday. Boomers believe that they will be healthy and vigorous until the end of their lives at which point they will simply cease to exist. No debilitating disease, chronic condition or slow deterioration of mental faculties for the boomers…they’ll be fine…until they’re not.

These insights mean that as marketers we should examine how we position our services and messaging to address both the realities of the situation and the belief that life is swell and all is well. How do you strike this balance in your marketing? Please share in the comment section below.

Click here for the full article.

WORTH MENTIONING: PRNews recently shared tips for how to avoid the dreaded Twitter muting feature. As marketers it’s a delicate balance in providing relevant content and overwhelming our audience. The article outlines ways to avoid having followers tune you out:

*What is your biggest marketing goal? Be sure you aren’t sabotaging that with your channel plan.

*Create a calendar to help the process seem less daunting. Watch times of day and days of the week that work best for your audience.

*Listening is as important as sharing. Instead of pushing out content, why not ask a question to preface that content? Give people a reason to engage.

Click here to read more.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Boomer Dreams and The Meaning of Life

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Happy Monday!  There is a lot to share so let’s jump right in.  This week’s mature marketing stories of the week focused on following your dreams and defining meaning. Have something to share?  Be sure to include in the comment section below.

MOST CLICKED:

Boomers fulfill retirement dreamsAd Age recently showcased a series of online ads for Prudential, which drove a significant number of shares this past week.  The series of films by Droga5 follows a number of retirees embarking on new chapters in their lives. From a retired postal worker who dreams of being a filmmaker (and makes it a reality), to a former real estate broker who has always wanted a career in the fashion industry and becomes a designer for a well-known fashion house, these videos demonstrate that the “golden years” for many mean exploration and adventure of new (and resurrected) passions.

“People in retirement are part of one of the biggest brain trusts in the world. Clint Eastwood, for example, didn’t start directing until after retirement age. People are doing extraordinary things and we wanted to showcase that.”

Click here to see the videos.

MOST SHARED:

Does the meaning of life change after you turn 60? This is the question one author posed to 43,000 women as she searched for the answer in a recent Huffington Post, Post 50 article. Is purpose defined by life stage?  A simple question yet one that drove a variety of responses from the women who participated in the study.

Here are just a few examples of how some defined their meaning:

* Being true to who I am

* Inner peace

* Waking up

* Sanity

* Money

* Getting my PhD.

* Family

* My husband

What would you say is your definition of the meaning of life?  Be sure to share in the comments below.

Click here to see more responses.

 

Supporting a Transformative Idea of Aging

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

One thing we love about marketing senior living is the chance to collaborate with organizations that help people live rewarding, meaningful and engaging lives.

But do most organizations genuinely believe this is possible regardless of age and health challenges? Do their residents and team members share these beliefs? And do the organization’s words and deeds support a transformative idea of aging?

These were some of the challenging questions that aging expert Kay Van Norman asked on April 24 at North Hill in Needham, Mass.Kay Van Norman - aging expert - with her horse, Dancer

The North Hill leadership team had been so inspired by Kay’s perspectives and research findings, they sponsored a PurposeFULL Living® event for New England senior living industry professionals.

Kay’s mission is to be an “Agent of Change.” She is a powerful agent. Her article “Purpose Driven Communities,” which first appeared in the Journal on Active Aging, has many parallels to North Hill’s PurposeFULL Living philosophy and approach.

In her presentation last week, Kay reviewed the roots and dangers of ageism and offered ideas that individuals and organizations can implement to improve both the quantity and quality of life. I was so inspired that I wanted to share some of them with Creating Results’ blog readers. With so many thought-provoking questions, this will be the first post in a multi-part series .

The Historical Basis (and Fallacy) of Ageism

Kay pointed out that many Gerontology studies used sample populations of people who lived in nursing homes because they were convenient and accessible. But they clearly aren’t representative of all older people. This would be equivalent to going to sports rehab facilities to study 40-year-olds.

Another historic basis for ageism is that Social Security was introduced to push people out of the work force. Before then, people worked until they died. Physically and mentally they were probably better off for doing so. By mandating or encouraging retirement, we took peoples’ jobs away and in many ways, we took away their self-worth.

Several years ago, I argued that same point in an article called “Working for a Life, Not a Living.” People want to keep contributing to society long after “retirement.” Prior to Social Security they did.

These ageist influences are seen in our language, our media and our marketing.

For example, Kay implored, “We’ve been forgetting our whole lives. Why are we suddenly afraid?” Would we take a child who forgot to give a note to their teacher to be screened for early onset Alzheimer’s? Labeling forgetfulness as a senior moment is being ageist.

Media Extremes Reinforce Negative Images of Aging

old runnersThe media generally shows images of older people in two extremes – either “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” or an 80 year old surfer. Since it’s hard for most people to relate running ultra-marathons at 85, they begin to place themselves in the first, “decrepit” camp. However, Kay stressed that there are other choices. “My mission is to convince people that age itself, has less to with who a person is and what they are capable of than any other factor.”

Kay encouraged the audience to contemplate how their thoughts and actions impact their outlook on life. The questions she posed apply to marketing senior living, travel, services, healthcare, financial services …

  1. Match up your marketing actions with your goals. Are they congruent?
  2. Monitor self-talk. Is there any ageism? (Almost all of the attendees at the session acknowledged that they have some ageist beliefs.)
  3. Do your organizational messages focus on taking care of people or providing them with opportunities to flourish?

As Kay asked, “What kind of emotional residue are we leaving with others around us? Are we patronizing or empowering? Do we help people feel confident and capable?”

Your Turn

Is your organization (and its marketing) empowering adults of all ages?

How can we help shift the focus from taking care of people to creating environments and cultures that allow people to live lives of meaning, passion and purpose up to their last breath?

Please use the comments section below to share your suggestions.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Technology & Boomer Migration

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Happy Monday! Here is a recap of the top mature marketing news and reports that had people talking.

MOST SHARED

A study released in early April entitled Older Adults and Technology Use  by the  Pew Research Center that had many people sharing last week.  The study, and associated article,  focuses not just on general boomer and senior technology usage, but how it varies by age bracket within the overall 65 and better population. In general, seniors overall adaption of technology continues to increase, especially among the younger, more affluent boomers.

Key take-aways:Mature Marketing Links of the Week- Senior Technology Usage

*  6 in 10 seniors are online: 59% of seniors are online and 77% have a cell phone, both increasing from similar studies conducted in 2012:

But despite these gains, seniors continue to lag behind younger Americans when it comes to tech adoption. And many seniors remain largely unattached from online and mobile life—41% do not use the internet at all, 53% do not have broadband access at home, and 23% do not use cell phones.

*  Younger, more educated seniors use internet at rates exceeding general population usage:  82% of seniors with an annual income of $75,000 or more go online, while just 39% of seniors earning less than $30,000  go online.

*  Hurdles to technology usage among older seniors includes physical challenges, difficulty in learning new technology and  overall skepticism.

Around two in five seniors indicate that they have a “physical or health condition that makes reading difficult or challenging” or a “disability, handicap, or chronic disease that prevents them from fully participating in many common daily activities”. This group is significantly less likely than seniors who do not face these physical challenges to go online (49% vs. 66%), to have broadband at home (38% vs. 53%), and to own most major digital devices.

*  Once seniors begin utilizing technology (and have a positive attitude about it) they make it a habit to use regularly.

The article goes on to detail social media usage among boomers and beyond, a topic that Creating Results has researched thoroughly within our Social, Silver Surfer research.

Click here for the full article. 

RELATED: Pew Report Shows Gains in Technology Adoption by Older People & Older Adults and Technology: Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

MOST CLICKED

An article within the Star Tribune entitled Where the Boomers Are generated a lot of interest…and clicks.  As they retire , boomers aren’t wooed just by maintenance-free living or one level floorplans and amenities – the location of the community plays a large part in driving the decision. And while for many urban living with all the trappings is the most appealing, many boomers are opting for a more suburban way of life.

But these newly-minted city folk have a country cousin counterpart — people who still want single-family homes and their own patch of green space, who may be sick of shoveling but aren’t ready to give up gardening.

Regardless of the locale, knowing what motivates your prospects is key to differentiating yourself and your community.

Read the full article.

 

Pew Report Shows Gains in Technology Adoption by Older People

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Yesterday we shared four facts from a new Pew Research Center report on technology adoption by older people, specifically Americans over the age of 65. It was a story of Internet haves and have nots, as younger, more affluent seniors dive into the web while older, lower-income elders remain disconnected.

Overall, though, there has been significant, positive movement when it comes to seniors online. Here are a few nuggets from the new Pew report, and from Creating Results’ own national survey of Social, Silver Surfers.

1. 6 in 10 Seniors are Now OnlineChart - internet users by age group; daily online usage - Pew Internet Project

Per Pew, there has been a large jump in the use of the Internet by all seniors, rising six percentage points in one year. Now 59% of all Americans over 65 go online.

This is especially significant when you consider the physical challenges aging often imposes on seniors, making it hard to use digital devices. And considering the fact that most elders say they would need assistance to begin using this technology.

“Just 18% would feel comfortable learning to use a new technology device such as a smartphone or tablet on their own, while 77% indicate they would need someone to help walk them through the process. And among seniors who go online but do not currently use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, 56% would need assistance if they wanted to use these sites to connect with friends or family members.”

Action Step: Helping elders get connected or comfortable with technology can be a marketing tool.

Consider hosting a Senior Tech Rally program, as  many active adult and senior living communities have. Or offer space in your clubhouse for ongoing classes run by a local organization. Seniors from throughout the area can sample the lifestyle you offer at an event that isn’t sales-y, promoting greater trust, appreciation and lead capture.

Remember that some 50+ers are already super-savvy with tech, and if they live in your community you should tap into their enthusiasm. That’s what Traditions of America at Silver Spring did. The 55+ lifestyle community has neighbors teaching neighbors — classes are “sold out”!

2. Social Online = Social Everywhere

I was struck by Pew’s finding that while only 46% of online seniors (27% of all American seniors) use social networking sites, those who do are more engaged in all social avenues. 81% of older online social networkers say they are socializing with others by phone, in person or … yes … online on a daily/near-daily basis.

Isolation among elders is a big issue, with serious health implications. Other studies have found that Internet use can reduce rates of depression in elders. Yet another reason for caregivers, family members and housing operators to encourage Internet adoption.

Our own research found an increase in online social networking activity from 2010 (when we first surveyed 40+ Americans) to 2013, as this chart illustrates.

Table - social networking activity level by generation; changes since 2010

3. Social Everywhere Isn’t Really Everywhere

Pew didn’t put it this way, but I will: If 27% of Americans over 65 are online AND using social networking sites, that means 73% are not.

And you won’t find them on Twitter. Only 6% of online 65+ers use the platform (which works out to 3% of all US 65+ers).

Action Step: Encourage social networking use and promote your own social platforms to homeowners, residents, prospects and influencers. Just be realistic about your expectations. As our Social, Silver Surfers research revealed, very few people of any age go on Facebook et al seeking to become engaged with brands.

4. Adoption of Mobile Devices by Seniors Up, Yet Still Lagging

While cellphone adoption still trails the general population (77% of seniors own one, vs. 91% of all Americans) there have been gains. Now, Pew reports, more than half of seniors in every subcategory own a cell, including 61% of those 80+.

Note that this is cellphone ownership, not smartphone ownership Pew is talking about. While 55% of American adults own smartphones, only 18% of those over 65 do. Those who are 65-74 years old are more likely to be smartphone users than those over 75.

Seniors are more likely to own e-readers or tablets than smartphones. 18% of them own a Kindle, Nook, or similar e-reader device, compared 24% of all US adults. 18% of seniors own a tablet computer, compared to 34% of all US adults.

Those with higher levels of education or income are also more likely to own cellphones, smartphones or tablets/e-readers.

Action Step: Start thinking about, testing and perhaps re-designing your emails and website for better mobile experience. Because whether older people are using desktops, smartphones or tablets, they’re more connected than ever and their expectations are rising.

PREVIOUS: Older Adults and Technology – Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

RELATED: Where ARE these senior social networkers? This January 2014 post has the answer.

 

What do YOU think? Did you read the Pew report? Will you be taking any actions based on these new insights into technology adoption?

Older Adults and Technology: Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

In early April, the Pew Research Center released its latest report on Older Adults and Technology Use. The subhead for the report tells the tale: “Adoption is increasing, but many seniors remain isolated from digital life.” Indeed, the researchers identified two groups:

1) Younger, higher-income and more educated Americans over 65. These use the Internet at rates approaching or exceeding the general population. They feel positively about online tools and services.

2) Older, less affluent seniors, often with significant health/disability challenges. These elders are largely disconnected from online or mobile life.

For nearly a decade, Creating Results has started any presentation about older adults reminding audience members that it isn’t one “single, silver sea.” Behaviors and attitudes WITHIN generations can vary as widely as BETWEEN generations.

Here are four facts from the new Pew report that illustrate how colorful that sea of seniors is when it comes to the adoption/use of technology.

Disparities Seen by Education, Income, Health, Age

Table - Internet, broadband adoption among seniors - Pew Internet Project

* 87% of seniors with a college degree go online. Only 40% of those who have not attended college go online.

Action Step: Web copy should be smart and respectful, not pretentious or pandering. And, not to be flip, but almost nothing turns off a highly-educated older adult more than poor spelling and grammar. Proofread those websites!

 

* 90% of seniors with higher incomes (annual household income of $75,000 or more) go online. 39% of those with household incomes of less than $30,000 go online. 63% of those with incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 are using Internet. According to data from the US Census Bureau, nationwide seniors are living off of a median household income of $35,107.

Action Step: Consider the income level of your ideal prospect when creating digital marketing budgets. If you’re serving a lower-income group, money spent on church flyers could go a lot further than money spent on online ads.

 

* Roughly 40% of Americans over 65 reported having a physical challenge. This could be anything from diminished eyesight that makes reading online difficult to a chronic disease. Only 49% of this group goes online, vs. 66% of all seniors.

Action Step: Conduct usability testing on websites to be sure important actions can be taken by all. Avoid tiny “submit” buttons!

 

* 74% of the “younger olds,” those aged 65-69, go online. 37% of those 80 or better are using the Internet.

Action Step: Look at your digital marketing through the eyes of a 65-69 year old target. Do they see themselves there? Do the photos feel authentic and representative of your customer’s self image?

Creating Results’ national Social, Silver Surfers study showed that a decreasing number of younger olds feel websites reflect their generation. Since we first measured attitudes in 2010, it appears expectations have risen and matures are feeling less represented on the web.

Chart - older age groups on whether websites reflect their generation, 2010 vs 2013

As we noted in the Social, Silver Surfers 2013 eBook, “if consumers don’t feel they see themselves in your marketing, they’re less likely to purchase your product or service.” (To buy the ebook and learn what steps to take, click here.)

Tomorrow we’ll share more data — and related action steps! — about older adults and technology.

A Subsegment of Seniors Tops Spending Charts

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

You might not be surprised to learn that those who spend the most daily are those with children under the age of 18. After reading a new Gallup report, we discovered there is an age overlay to daily spending as well: 65+ seniors with young children have the highest daily spending of any Americans.

Americans daily spending - Seniors with children under 16 top charts

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 338,000 households in which children under 18 are living with at least one parent over 65.

There also are 1,648,000 US households in which a child under 18 lives with a grandparent and no parents are present in the household. These grandparents can be of any age, though most are between 55 and 65, per Census data.

While this is not a huge segment, it’s certainly an intriguing one. As demographic trends collide — longevity bonuses, delayed marriages and child bearing, fractured families — our stereotypes of who is the “parent” of a young child will be challenged. And so might stereotypes about discretionary spending and 65+ seniors.


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